English Wall Map of the World (Showing Sea of Korea and California as an Island)
Decorative example of this large and decorative double hemisphere map of the World, published by Herman Moll in London.
Moll's map is one of the first to record prevailing wind directions based on scientific observation. It was designed for a British public interested in maritime exploration and commerce and thus to encourage subscriptions for Moll's New and Complete Atlas.
California is shown as an island, a prominent River of the West is "laid down according to the Baron Lahontan's discoveries," and most of the Arctic is labeled "Parts Unknown." In northeastern Asia, Iesso (Hokkaido) is shown to be part of Siberia with Companys Land lying just offshore. Only the western and northern coasts and a bit of Diemen's Land are shown in Australia.
To the north of Japan, the Sea of Corea is named.
Surrounding the hemispheres are a variety of astronomical diagrams, including representations of the planets, the moon, a north polar projection, and the solar systems theories of Ptolemy and Copernicus. The title is enclosed in a banner-style cartouche at the top.
Of particular interest is the vitriolic attack on Moll's competitors, particularly French cartographer Nicolas Sanson (whose maps have been condemned and found to be notoriously false). Moll goes on to claim the Dutch maps are inaccurate and often illegal piracies.
This is the first edition of the map with a large dedication cartouche "To His Royal Highness George, Prince of Denmark, Lord High Admiral Great Britain & Ireland, &c." First printed in 1709, this example notes that it was "Printed for H. Moll D. Midwinter at ye 3 Crowns in St. Paul's Churt yard and By T. Bowles . . . 1709" and "Sold by H. Moll . . . and P. Overton . . . " placing the date of the map as circa 1715.
For the second edition, the map dedication would be revised, "To His most Sacred Majesty, George nd. By the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France & Ireland Defender of the Faith &c.
Herman Moll (c. 1654-1732) was one of the most important London mapmakers in the first half of the eighteenth century. Moll was probably born in Bremen, Germany, around 1654. He moved to London to escape the Scanian Wars. His earliest work was as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas, a failed work which landed Pitt in debtor's prison. Moll also engraved for Sir Jonas Moore, Grenville Collins, John Adair, and the Seller & Price firm. He published his first original maps in the early 1680s and had set up his own shop by the 1690s.
Moll's work quickly helped him become a member of a group which congregated at Jonathan's Coffee House at Number 20 Exchange Alley, Cornhill, where speculators met to trade stock. Moll's circle included the scientist Robert Hooke, the archaeologist William Stuckley, the authors Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, and the intellectually-gifted pirates William Dampier, Woodes Rogers and William Hacke. From these contacts, Moll gained a great deal of privileged information that was included in his maps.
Over the course of his career, he published dozens of geographies, atlases, and histories, not to mention numerous sheet maps. His most famous works are Atlas Geographus, a monthly magazine that ran from 1708 to 1717, and The World Described (1715-54). He also frequently made maps for books, including those of Dampier’s publications and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Moll died in 1732. It is likely that his plates passed to another contemporary, Thomas Bowles, after this death.